« Obama Keeps Status Quo for Religious Hiring | Main | Herman Cain Apologizes to Muslim Americans »

July 26, 2011

Poll: Majority of Americans Say Same-Sex Relations Are OK

Recent data suggests that Americans for the first time since 1973, a minority says homosexual relations are 'always wrong.'

The state of New York began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples earlier this week. New York's decision to expand the definition of marriage to include gay couples, which affects the third-largest state population in the U.S., is seen by many as an important symbolic victory in the fights over gay rights and marriage.

In the days leading up to the new legislation, proponents of gay marriage said that traditional marriage advocates would find themselves on the wrong side of history. A long-running beliefs poll indicates a dramatic shift in views of homosexuality in recent years: What was once widely believed to be wrong is now considered morally acceptable by a majority of Americans.

From 1973 to 2010, the General Social Survey (GSS) has asked Americans if they think sexual relations between same-sex couples are wrong. Up until 2008, a majority of Americans have answered that such behavior is 'always wrong.' But the latest GSS, conducted in 2010, finds that only 46 percent of Americans hold this position.

The GSS, a federally-funded survey, is considered the gold standard for polling on social behaviors, attitudes, and values and has asked the same question on homosexual behavior since its inception: “Are sexual relations between two adults of the same sex always, almost always, sometimes, or never wrong?” Until the 1990s, opposition to homosexuality ran high. Nearly seven-in-ten Americans said same-sex sexual relations were always wrong.

But the early 90s saw a dramatic change in views toward homosexuality.


0725GSSonsex.JPG

In 1991, three-in-four Americans said homosexual relations are always wrong. By the end of the decade, this dropped to just six-in-ten. The survey indicates a rise in acceptance of homosexuality during the following ten years, culminating in 2010 when only 46 percent of Americans said same-sex relations are ‘always wrong’.

This is the first time in the 37 years of polling that those in opposition to same sex relations represented a minority. Most people who do not consider same-sex sexual relations ‘always wrong’ say that such behavior is ‘never wrong.’ In the 1970s, only 11 to 15 percent of the public said same-sex relations never wrong. Today, 43 percent hold this view, a near- statistical tie for the percentage who say it is always wrong.

Not surprisingly, beliefs about sexual morality dovetail with views on same-sex marriage. In 1988, the GSS first asked if people supported gay marriage. Only 12 percent indicated support, the same percentage that said same-sex sexual relations were never wrong. Jump to 2004, when the GSS next asked about gay marriage: three-in-ten supported same-sex marriage and said homosexuality was never wrong.

As views of sexual morality have shifted, so have views of same-sex marriage. According to many recent surveys, about half of Americans support gay marriage (though it depends on how you ask the question).

0725GSS%20Gay%20Marriage.JPG

Comments

This gradual modifying of opinion has nothing to do with some insidious "Gay Agenda" or some weird plot by the media to somehow "promote" homosexuality (as if sexual orientation could be promoted). It has more to do with the fact that Gay individuals, and especially Gay couples, are living their lives with honesty and integrity, participating in their community, and demonstrating through example that they aren't too different from anyone else.

30 years ago most Americans didn't know of any friends, family members, or co-workers who were Gay. Today most Americans DO, and with that awareness has come increasing acceptance and support. Most recently, of course, social networking phenomena like Facebook have made the proverbial "Closet" virtually obsolete.

More than anything, however, I think people are simply learning how to make better value judgments. Why is it that it's perfectly acceptable, even admirable, for Straight (i.e. heterosexual) couples to date, get engaged, get married, and build lives together in the context of monogamy and commitment, and that this is a GOOD thing ... but for Gay couples to do exactly the same is somehow a BAD thing? To me this seems like a very poor value judgment.

I often hear the opponents of marriage equality for Gay couples insist, "Some of my best friends are Gay!" But the fact is, if you DO have friends who are Gay, you are statistically much more likely to support marriage rights for them.

No doubt there has been an increase in the acceptance of same sex relationships even among Christians. And as Chuck has stated, knowing someone who is gay is an important factor in increasing acceptance. However, this is an indication that standards of right and wrong are influenced more by personal factors rather than an objective standard of right and wrong such as scripture. Also, if the number of Americans accepting same sex marriages are increasing, why has this not been reflected in elections. Most states that have had ballot initiatives concerning same sex marriage have voted to uphold the traditional view of marriage as the legal definition. In some places that have legalized same sex marriage, the issue was not brought before the voters to decide, such as in New York and in Washington, D.C.

Chuck, you're wrong if you think that everyone is going to come to accept your homosexuality and lifestyle as "normal". It is not. If you really wanted to be accepted as normal, groups of you would do everything in your power to end the disgusting parades, but there is no call to end them, they are evidently loved by homosexuals. If you seriously want to act like the typical neighbor next door, aren't you seriously embarrassed about them, or are you not allowed to speak the truth? If you think I would ever allow little children to watch them, you're way off base. Sorry, but they show you as you are, and your "group" is not normal. The American Psychiatric Association calls depression and anxiety, which everyone has had at some time of their lives, labelled as mental illnesses. But your group has pressured them to accept as "normal" people who participate in parades naked or half-naked, men dressed as women, homosexuals acting out the sex act on a parade float in front of huge crowds, etc as "normal", and do you really think that's how the individual psychiatrists themselves think?

Everyone that I know does think that you should not be allowed to marry and definitely should not be allowed to adopt. Polls of Americans show that they do not agree with the states allowing homosexuals to marry, and if they're asked if they should be allowed to adopt, they would hear a resounding NO. Just because your group is able to donate a lot of money and apply a lot of political pressure to get the laws passed that you want, does not mean that that the average American, and especially Christian Americans, agree with the law. Those laws would be undone in a minute if possible.

For those pollsters who are brave enough to go against the violent vehemence of your crowd, the polls show that your "marriages" are nothing but a sham. The vast majority of them are "open" marriages, with no intention of staying true to each other. It is not a lie that, on the average, homosexuals have extremely high numbers of partners compared to heterosexual men. I really doubt that you and your friends are willing to be truthful about this. Sorry, but this country's interstate highways are notorious for having homosexuals in the restrooms just waiting for other random homosexual men, not caring in the least if they even see their faces, not caring in the least if they know them, they just want their sex. We all know about the homosexual baths, etc, and that's why AIDS spread so quickly among homosexuals. The percentage of AIDS among heterosexual men in the US never approached the rate of AIDS among homosexuals. You may try and cover it up and sugar coat it, but it is a sick perversion that GOD says is an abomination. If you think we will all cave in to political correctness and ignore the truth, you're wrong. It's a shame that most people don't bother researching anything, they just go along with whatever is the popular thought of the day. But I will always stand with God's Word. In addition, being happily accepted as "normal" couples is not merely all that homosexuals want. They already have California law requiring that gay history will be covered in the student's textbooks. They may not be able to give you the name of the first President, but they'll have to learn the history of a group of people who want acceptance of their sin. I'm not sorry for how I feel. God's way is always the right way. It's sad but true, that I'm willing to go to my death for my faith in my Lord, but you're willing to go to eternal condemnation for what pleases you sexually. Your eternal life is much more important, I'm praying you will repent.
Hebrews 10:26-27 "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God."

It doesn't make any difference in the world if my opinion is someday in the minority. I will always do my best to follow the Lord. Don't you call it an agenda when you're not happy enough with laws protecting your jobs, you then want laws allowing you to marry, you have laws to adopt, the next step now being taken is to teach little 3 and 4 year olds the history of the gay movement? And then what will follow, allowing kids of all ages to express their sexuality, so that the homosexuals can be with young boys? When will it end? Sorry, but I hardly see the political action groups dissolving. It's not surprising that I've yet to see homosexuals saying how much they love the Lord and how the Lord has made a difference in their lives.

@John -- the notion that scripture has ever represented a perfectly "objective standard" of right and wrong, uninfluenced by social attitudes/biases, is naive. Just note how scripture has been used over the centuries to justify anti-Semitism, racism against blacks, and abusive treatment of women. Increased awareness of just how such marginalized people actually live out their lives, combined with ever-improving understanding of the historical context of various Biblical passages, can, in fact, often work in tandem to bring scriptural interpretation more in line with its likely real meaning. And as for state referendum outcomes, past results are no indicator of future results when public opinion is changing as rapidly as it appears to be. Once those in favor of same-gender marriage substantially outnumber those against -- in sufficient numbers to overcome known issues in voting patterns (e.g. older people voting in higher numbers than younger people) -- you will probably see those referendum votes going the other way.

@Barbara -- your post features so many distortions and misconceptions, I hardly know where to begin. I know quite a few gay people, including a number of same-gender couples, some with kids. And your characterizations don't come close to matching ANY of them. They all are pretty much as Chuck - who by the way never identifies himself as gay - describes. The majority, in fact, are faithful Christians.

What the heck is this about being a homosexual and a faithful Christian? Are there fornicators and adulterers who are faithful Christians? Everyone sins, and everyone makes mistakes, at some time or another. But someone who is proud of their sin, and claims it's not wrong, could hardly be considered a Christian!

And, also, this idea that when you know homosexuals you suddenly become convinced that the radical homosexual agenda is right: we certainly oppose the homosexual agenda a lot more know than we did before we had any good friends who are homosexual!

Ali, I strongly encourage you and others you deem to be faithful to insist on building that fortress of true Christianity that excludes people in loving and sexual same-sex relationships. This will hasten the marginalization and depopulation of your type of religious sect over time. I look forward to the irrelevance of your tribe.

Majority opinion shouldn't necessarily apply with issues like civil rights and this is a civil rights issue. If the majority got to vote on other civil rights issues - like rights for blacks back in the 60s, black people in America probably would not have the rights they have now. The majority isn't always right and in this case as in many others, I think it's beside the point.

That said, the law in NY wouldn't have passed if not for the protection of the church and clergy who do not wish to perform or recognize gay marriage. It's separation of church and state and this issue is about whether the state should recognize existing relationships and whether people in those relationships should receive the same benefits as other relationships the law already recognizes. No one has to agree with it based on religious principles, but I believe that a secular law and society should grant those rights.

I'd also like to see CT address some of the scripture that seem to be so clearly against homosexuality in 20th/21st century English but appear to be more nuanced than many realize. For instance, in Roman society, a Roman male citizen had the right to have sex with anyone of his choosing as long as it wasn't another Roman male citizen and as long as he wasn't the submissive partner. I've heard that this is specifically what Paul is referring to when he talks about men trading in on their natural desires - the abuse of one person over another - and that the issue of two consenting adults who identify as gay is not actually addressed in scripture positively or negatively. I'd be interested on what the writers and editors of CT have to say about that.

I think the real issue here is that a majority of people either don't know or believe in sin. To most people sin would be lying,stealing,killing,raping or anything that harms other people and/or their community.Therefore, homosexuality is not a sin or bad because it doesn't hurt anyone and as Chuck said "Gay couples, are living their lives with honesty and integrity, participating in their community, and demonstrating through example that they aren't too different from anyone else." Which is true, Gay couples can be "good people" who have integrity and can contribute positive things to their community.But,sin is what people do apart from God and is often displayed by us choosing what is right and wrong apart from his counsel. Like our mother Eve,we too like to decide what is right and wrong based on analyzing factors around us.However, we cannot always see the affect those decisions will have on our relationship with God. Bottom line: Homosexuality is a sin because God said so. There may be many seemingly beneficial aspects but it doesn't excuse the fact that Jesus had to die for that lifestyle.
Now, with regards to Gay marriage legislation, I really don't see how we as Christians can impose a moral law when most people in America don't believe in sin.Christians need to be honest and just say that the reason that they are against Gay marriage is because it is a sin and for no other reason. Christians also need to realize that there is an "Invisible Sin Clause" in our constitution that basically says that as long as the behavior is not hurting anyone and the majority of people agree, there really can't be legislation against it.If we want people to turn away from homosexuality and other sins it's really not going to be from outlawing it. It will be through prayer not politics and from obedience to God in our homes and community along with loving the sinners while standing for the word of God.

DEAR BENITA:

I'm reminded of a commentator on a Southern Baptist website who wrote, "I can't reconcile how someone could feel he or she was born with strong homosexual feelings, love Christ and yet take on the limitations of what seem to me to be straightforward biblical teachings. That's agonizing, and I don't really understand it."

And this is the weird thing: "Straighforward biblical teachings" should at least be understandable to the average person. So often I hear it said, "OUR ways are not GOD's ways," as if God was some sort of inscrutable alien being.

Consider The Golden Rule: We do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Put all the religious dogma and ritual aside, and this is what our laws boil down to. We don't lie or bear false witness because we won't want people to lie to us. We don't steal from other people because we do not want people stealing from us. We don't betray the trust of our spouses because we wouldn't want them doing the same to us. Same goes for killing and a variety of other "bad" behaviors.

And yet somehow there seems to be this sheepish adherence to a double standard for Gay and Straight people. If you're Straight, it's all so wonderful to be able to find a compatible person of the opposite sex, court and get engaged and marry and live happily ever after. But if you're Gay, all of that is completely out of the question. Don't even bother trying to find a compatible person. Lesbians and Gay men are precluded from any hope for romance or commitment. Gay people are simply told: "Gosh, sorry about that. You make us uncomfortable; acknowledging your existence means we might have to revise what we’ve been teaching all these years - meaning, Whoops! No infallible Magisterium or "literal" Bible ... so you’ll just have to sacrifice your life and any hope of finding somebody to love. Tough luck, kid. God said it, I don't necessarily understand it, but there it is."

I wish more social conservatives and evangelical Christians would at least TRY to wrap their minds around why this makes so little sense to Gay people, and why constant exposure to this sort of disdain is exactly WHY so many Gay young people end up taking their own lives.

Is it a sin? Yes. Is it our job to make people stop sinning? No. Should it be illegal? I don't care.

Homosexuality yesterday, dope today and tomorrow will it be robbery or murder? A very well funded and orchestrated movement has turned all of the western world to agree that homosexuality is ok, that it does no harm to anybody and that it's not even clear in scripture that it's sin. A new movement led by very distinguished people like Kofi Annan, Bill Clinton and others are now on a march to legalize and even encourage smoking dope. They say it's a wonderful medicine. Again the movement is well funded and very organized. What's next? Am 52 years old living in an African state that abolished homosexuality and locks up dope smokers but I have a terrible feeling that in my life time, I will witness the start of a movement that justifies murderers or robbers. Thank God that the Kingdom of God is not a democracy!

@Chuck first of all I am more sympathetic than you think. I know Gay people and have some in my family who are upstanding individuals. However, you have to understand that from a Christian perspective, I cannot get up and say that Jesus did not die for homosexuality. See, that statement goes against the gospel itself. What it says is that a homosexual can stand boldly before God and say that they are blameless in this area of their life. Do you dare to make that declaration. Are you bold enough to say that Jesus did not die for that and that grace is not needed in that area? Homosexuality is no different from any other sin and is a close brother to sex outside of marriage which many Christians are guilty of as well. It's unfortunate that other sins that even Christians engage in are not as heavily scrutinized. But,Jesus did die for all sins including sexual sins.Denying this fact is to deny Him as well. Jesus gives us all grace and freedom from judgment from other people, but with the price of obedience. It was Jesus who said "He who has no sin cast the first stone" but many forget who was left standing. Jesus will be our judge and He will hold us accountable for accepting or rejecting His sacrifice.
In regards to the Gay suicides that are happening, my hearts go out to those people and to their families.If more Christians were to see themselves and their sins as no different than the Gays then maybe they could act with more grace and love while sharing and living the gospel.

My understanding of scripture is that God designed sex to occur between one man and one woman in marriage. I grieve for my lifetime friend (and his family) who has sinned by leaving his marriage for an adulterous affair. I grieve for young people who sin by having sex before marriage. I grieve for people who sin by having sex with people of the same sex whether they are married or not. I grieve over the Playboy and Penthouse images embedded in my teenage brain decades ago. I grieve for anyone who might be born with both male and female sexual or hormonal features. I grieve for American culture and those of us who so heavily define our identity by sex because this is a lie.

@T - I want to ask you, T, do people 'become' gay when they are adult? And this explanation about the children is, I think, pathetic. So a child who is not wanted or has a disorder or is born of drug addicts is better of being brought up by a couple who are living an unnatural union? Wow! Sounds to me like a recruitment drive for the devil. No procreation expected here at all!

@T - If it's correct that people are 'born' gay, why is it rediculous to say that people are also 'born' murderers or robbers and therefore cannot be judged on what they are 'born' as and are perfectly natural?

I am a Christian, straight, married and here is how I understand the issue. First, in all our actions, we need to give God all the glory. Second, Jesus did not come to physically stop people from sinning or to build a political career. Take those two points and apply it to gay marriages. As a Christian living in a secular world, it does not surprise me that gay marriages is allowed and continue to gain popularity. Do I respect the law and their view? Yes. Do I agree with the law and their views? No. Can I voice my opinion against it like a normal law abiding citizen? Yes. Should I be active in politics to change laws against gays? No. Jesus said to the adulterous woman: 'Sin no more'. Jesus did not try to change the government to make prostitution illegal (Point 2 above). We are not called to 'physically' stop people from sinning. Murder and stealing are different because it causes physical harm to others. Therefore laws that protect our security is necessary. Put it this way: A car driving straight towards a cliff, we as Christians can put lots and lots of sign post warning of the impending danger, but as soon as we put spikes on the road to stop the car, then we overstep the boundary. Same argument applies to bombing abortion clinic. We need to stay close to the teachings of the bible, imitate Jesus as much as possible, pray for sinners, help the needy, and be the salt of the earth. Back to Point 1, in all our actions, we need to ask our self, does this glorify God? Or does it glorify me?

@CM, Great analogy with the car. I would also like to say that if our motivation against Gays is rooted in hatred and disgust, we stifle the gospel. Making hateful comments does not reflect Jesus' attitude or methods towards sinners. That's just a general statement.

Please note the proper terms are:

Sin, not "a sin"
He is homosexual or heterosexual, not he is A homosexual or A heterosexual.
It is abomination, not "it is AN abomination".

Abomination has it's roots it "hateful" and "despise" -- not that God hates and despises, sin yes, people no, in my opinion, rather, the subject of the verse is hateful and despises, and the subject's mental state is the
point of the word abomination, that is, that the subject hates, "kills" with his mind so to speak.

Ok, here's my understanding of God and His position with us humans. God loves us, so much so that He became like us and suffered like us so that He can redeem us ( buy us back) from the devil by dying for us. God position in old and new testament has always been community and guiding us to live well together as his partners on eath,thus the 10 commandments and Jesus. We will not worship Him if we dedicate ourselves to fighting each other. Now, since He made us man and woman, to compliment each other and to procreate, it makes sense that He would declare same-sex acts as abomination because there is no way that you can say that my neighbor's son having an intimate relationship with my son fosters better community, just as there is no way that you can say that me stealing from my neighbor is useful. Curiously, every type of human expects one generation to grow the next, even if they don't believe in God. So when did God's system change? Is God agreeable to change in society so much so that it's alright for a system that is in reality the most effective self-destructiive weapon to pervade? Because the truth is that if homosexuality is promoted and encouraged like some are doing here, saying that it's of no harm to 'others', we will end up with no new humans and God's elect will be extinct ( unless, of course, we use the prostitutes to do the procreation). God hates sin but loves people. God gave us Jesus so that we can do the same, hate sin and love people. I do not see a way where you can love both sin and people and claim to be of God.

Same-sex marriage was rejected in all 31 states where the states' residents voted on the matter. Tobin Grant may quote surveys saying "most Americans say same-sex relations are OK" but it appears the majority of Americans do not support same-sex relations and same-sex marriage.

http://townhall.com/columnists/patbuchanan/2011/07/01/the_death_of_moral_community/print

The change on viewing same-sex relations occurring in the 1990's is due in large part to the gay agenda books, which laid out specific plans to sway the media to promote same-sex relations.

There’s the push by ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's "Today Show" to mainstream same-sex attraction. For example, the last day of Katie Couric's appearance on NBC's "Today Show" had actor Harvey Fierstein proclaming his attraction for Matt Lauer, and Katie Couric encouraging it. Diane Sawyer actively promotes the gay agenda.

http://townhall.com/columnists/benshapiro/2011/05/31/exploring_the_hollywood_propaganda_machine/print

There's also the fear factor, as homosexual activists are aggressive in oppressing Christians. For example, I've read of several marriage service companies and printing companies owned by Christians, and stated openly in their websites, that have been shut down due to complaints by homosexuals wanting same-sex marriage. They specifically targeted the Christians to promote their agenda. This is loss of income and the destruction of a dream because the homosexual activists weren't willing to "show grace" and just bypass those businesses and move on to another business that agreed to do business with them.

In the Bible, things that are abominations are usually things associated with idolatry. Are today's adult relationships, relationships ideally based upon mutual consent, mutual love, mutual respect, mutual responsibility for each other and one's children, always idolatrous and inherently sinful? I think not.

I enjoy photographing the Gay Pride Parades here. They are very popular events, one of the most attended in the city. On that day, everyone is a survivor, and proud of having survived another year in sometimes cruel world. Everyone is beautiful and applauded for being the beautiful person one is. As an artist, I'm proud and inspired by humanity's many expressions and appreciations of beauty.

Full citizen equality, E Pluribus Unum, "out of many, one" is celebrated, not reviled and opposed. I'd rather have children exposed to Gay Pride Parades than to the religious-right's concept of "love."

An interesting ancient social construct/concept in the Bible is "Eunuchs born that way." Who were they? Why were they a separate kind of "eunuch?" What did they do or not do, sexually? What were their social niches? How did their societies treat them? (Eunuchs of all kinds were usually treated with suspicion, like gentiles, truth be told, but Isaiah 56 gives both eunuchs and gentiles a role in his messianic understandings.)

Today, we think of eunuchs as having been made eunuchs at some time after they were born, not born that way. How many male infants are born without genitalia, anyway? (I suspect that intersex infants were probably not labeled as eunuchs born that way.)

Obviously, what we think are eunuchs today wasn't always what was though of under the broader category of "eunuchs." There are reasons to believe that "eunuchs born that way" was the closest concept/social construct that the ancients had to today's understanding of same-sex sexual orientations and same-sex social constructs. Regardless, that they were not "abominations" and that Jesus didn't denounce them in Matthew 19, are things we should keep in mind when it comes to religion and full citizen equality. (Jesus, I think, was referring to Isaiah 56.)

It is very easy to succumb to the fashions put forth by the world. For the Believer, the fashions of the world are certainly not the most moral. Most believers I know have their Bible as a guide post in their lives.

For instance, those who consider themselves literate in the Scripture, live in the world, but with a standard far differently than those who are driven by their feelings/libidos. It is to those literate in the Scripture, I suggest that you study the Bible to find just one, not several, but just one passage which shows God specifically placing His hands of blessings on same gender relationships/marriages. And when that one passage is found, once again search the Scriptures and find just one passage which clearly shows that God specifically places His hands of blessings on the act of sodomy.

One of the greatest compliments God has to give to male/female marriage relationships, is the way the Second Coming of Christ is described, in the New Testament, as Jesus, being the Bride Groom(masculine), returning for His Bride, the Church(feminine).

Blessings!!

Bill

@John - I'm just saying it like it is. Straight and white couples are much more likely to adopt white or Asian healthy children. Gay couples are more likely to adopt children that straight couples don't want to adopt and who are abandoned by their biological parents. It doesn't matter if you and I approve or don't approve, it's the way it is.

I'm talking about the LAW, not the natural inclination for a person to be a murderer or robber. Pay attention!

@CM - good comments.

sodomy between two males or a male and female is not normal sexual behavior and never will be,you do not consummate a marriage in this deviant sexual manner

Dave, it is true that people have interpreted the Bible through the lense of their own biases. You mention as example people justifying anti-semitism and slavery based on their interpretation of scripture. Yet your comments on the subject are contradictory. You begin your comments with this point,"the notion that scripture has ever represented a perfectly "objective standard" of right and wrong, uninfluenced by social attitudes/biases, is naive." But then you state that by understanding how marginalized people live as well as the historical context of scriptural passages one can come to know the intended meaning of these passages. If one can discover the true meaning of a passage, then it follows that based on the knowledge of that meaning, one can discover objective standards of right and wrong, which was my original point.

@John G. -- you misquote me. I said "likely real meaning." I don't believe one should ever be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that one's understanding of Scripture, particularly when discussing a topic as complicated as this one, is absolutely the correct one.

I find it difficult to believe that mere humans can find the "true meaning of a passage." One spirals around meta-meaning in a passage and the passage's historical and intratextual contexts. There can be no plain reading for me of ancient text, sacred or otherwise. I respect the Bible too much to do that. The books and letters in the Bible were not written just for me, in the here and now, but for others, who lived long ago in very foreign to me times and lands...and who are long, long dead.

My Bible doesn't seem to be the same Bible as the Bible of conservative Evangelicals, if only because my Bible is much more than scripture, much more than what can be contained between two book covers or a translation on my computer screen...though I suppose, the internet might come close to being an analogy for my Bible. My Bible is ever changing as I age and change. Ever expanding as my research and conversations grow. I read a passage differently, every time I think about it, research it's historical and intratextual contexts. The words are the same, but my understanding of a paasage has changed, and I hope, deepened...become more informed by the Golden Rule.

As an Islamic scholar pointed out, wish I could remember his name, the morality one brings to your reading of the sacred text, is likely to be the morality you extract from it. That is why I think the Golden Rule is important to keep in your mind when reading the Bible.

The Golden Rule's challenges us, or at least me, to not just understand my neighbor, but to "be" my neighbor; not to just profess to love him/her, while claiming to know what's best for him/her. To be my neighbor as well s to be myself, challenges my own identity, my moral presumptions, my common sense...which is scary, but also exciting.

These challenges are how I change the morality I bring to the text, changing how I read the text, changing the morality I extract from the text. My Bible isn't just scripture, it's context, mine, which is continually changing as I age, and the scriptures' many contexts...which also sort of change to me as I deepen my knowledge and life experiences in (always imperfectly) understanding them.

Dave, it is true that past voting behaviors can change over time. Yet so little time has passed since voters have affirmed traditional marriage as the legal standard that it makes the result of the GSS poll suspect. I seriously doubt that sentiment has changed so radically among those who have not favored same sex marriage in so short a time.
T, yes, majority rule is not the final arbiter of right and wrong. But it would be more corect for you to have written that prior to the 1960's the majority would not have granted the rights to African Americans. In the 1960's, the majority did vote to acknowledge African Americans have the same rights as all Americans. They acknowledged this through reelecting their representatives who voted for the Civil Rights Act. The issue was resolved through Civil disobedience and THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS. In places such as New York and Washington, D.C, the democratic process was ignored in granting same sex marriage legal status. For such a small group of people to enforce their will by subverting the democratic process proves that gays are hardly marginalized as some claim them to be.

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20

Often we listen to what suits our pleasure, anything else is ignored. It is obvious that homosexual acts of all kinds are unnature, because only male female intercourse/copulation is natural, and cannot lead to conception of a baby for the father and mother. For a potential father and mother sexual activity is naturally pleasurable and filled with true wonderment/excitement. Homosexual activity may give excitement and physical pleasure but it cannot unite the couple/man and woman in a bond of God glorify love. Homosexuals miss the mark of God's plan to entend the human race. It's end is the end of all lies and invntors of lies. Sexual sins can be forgiven and cleansed in Christ Jesus through confession of sin's rebellion and the receiving of God's grace in Christ Jesus.

At the risk of sounding un-ecumenical but this could mean bad news to religions whose leadership positions used to be a safehaven for homosexuals back when they were heavily discriminated against.
There's no need to pretend you are "celibate" because of your "job". Now gay people can just "be".

Do I love gays? Yes. Do I want them to go to heaven? Yes. Will there be gays in heaven? According to my Bible, No.

It doesn't matter what public opinion says. God said it was wrong and sin thus it becomes a matter of obedience now.

I wonder how most people will feel about gay marriage when they learn about these DISTURBING facts:

A. The State of New York will issue a marriage license to a 50 year old gay man and a 16 year old boy couple if the boy has both parents' consent.

B. The State of New York will issue a marriage license to a 50 year old gay man and a 14 year old boy couple if the boy has both parents' consent and approval from a judicial officer.

REFERENCE: http://www.health.state.ny.us/vital_records/married.htm

This possible scenario must be considered by any heterosexual who advocates gay rights, but, for some reason, it has not been brought to the forefront because no major news source has run a story on this angle of the law yet.


CORRECTION: This possible scenario must be considered by any heterosexual who advocates gay MARRIAGE rights . . .

@Alley -- this is a total red herring. I don't see that this will (or should) impact anybody's feelings about gay marriage, since the same laws apply to straight marriages. People against same-gender marriage will still be against it after considering the law you point out -- which by the way is neither new nor related to the recently enacted same-gender marriage law -- and people in favor of allowing same-gender marriage will still be in favor. On the other hand, people who disapprove of 50-year-olds marrying 14-year-olds, and that would likely include most people, will disapprove regardless of the genders of the people involved. It has nothing to do with gay marriage per se. Did you really think people wouldn't realize the law also applies to straight couples?

@ Dave: I think you are wrong. I think that many heterosexual sympathizers may change their tune once they understand this aspect of the law. I have noticed that this is something difficult for gay people to understand, but I truly believe that this type of scenario doesn't sit well with most straight people, especially when it involves a same-sex couple. Again, I would love to see what the polls would be like if a major news source gave this story headline prominence.

@ Dave: If most straight people dismiss such an arrangement as no different than a similar arrangement between straight people, then we are further down the sewer than I thought.

Didn't Paul tell us things like this would happen in the last days?
2 Timothy 3:1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

@Alley -- I think most straight people would object to 50-year-olds marrying 14-year-olds regardless of gender. I also think most gay people would feel the same way; that's certainly true for the gay people I know. You're not one of those people that think that most gay people are pedophiles, are you?

@ Dave: This is what you and I both know as FACTS:

A. The State of New York will issue a marriage license to a 50 year old gay man and a 16 year old boy couple if the boy has both parents' consent.

B. The State of New York will issue a marriage license to a 50 year old gay man and a 14 year old boy couple if the boy has both parents' consent and approval from a judicial officer.

REFERENCE: http://www.health.state.ny.us/vital_records/married.htm

C. No major new source has reported on this aspect of the law and gave it headline status.

What I would like to know is how the polls on gay marriage would change after a major news source reports on this matter. Your speculation as to how people would respond is unconvincing and does not satisfy my curiosity on this question by any means.

If This "Poll" Is True--Than The United States Of American Is On A Collision & Crash Course To ETERNAL JUDGEMENT BY FIRE According To THE Historic Authorized English "King James" HOLY BIBLE !

If This "Poll" Is True & Correct, Then The United States Of America BETTER REPENT As A NATION--Or Face The IMMINENT JUDGEMENT OF ALMIGHTY GOD BY FIRE !

As THE ALMIGHTY GOD WILL HAVE TO JUDGE THE U.S.A. THUS--OR APOLOGIZE TO SODOM, GOMORRAH & THE CITIES THAT WERE 'ROUND ABOUT HER WHO GAVE THEMSELVE OVER TO "FORNICATION" & "GOING AFTER STRANGE FLESH" !

DEAR ALLEY PROFESSOR:

Does it make you feel any better that the age requirements that you cite apply to heterosexual couples as well?

The State of New York will issue a marriage license to a 50 year old man and a 16 year old GIRL if the girl has both parents' consent. The state will also issue a marriage license to a 50 year old man and a 14 year old GIRL if the girl has both parents' consent and approval from a judicial officer.

No doubt cases like this have occurred MANY times in the past. Shall I assume they never bothered you before? The thought of a 50 year old man marrying ANYONE of such a young age is something I find troubling, but if a state is going to have "Age of Consent" laws, they have to apply to Gay and Straight couples equally.

I was just reading in Scientific American about "The Evolution of Grandparents." I would think it obvious that for humans, it is not just breeding couples who contribute to society, but everyone. People who don't have biological children, nevertheless help raise children. A childless teacher, for instance, helps educate your children. A Gay, childless police officer helps keep your children safe. A Gay couple can raise children who might otherwise remain orphans. Gay people can, in any case, "procreate."

In the not so recent past, and in many societies today, men and women who would likely self identify as Gay if they were here and now, married and had children because that's just what people in their societies did. Given the double standard in many societies, men, at least, could find love outside of marriage. Marriage which was not about love, but creating "legitimate" heirs for one's position on the social hierarchy, and the bonding of families into allies with each other. Love was nice if it was there in a marriage, but marriage didn't need love, just a grudging tolerance of each other, at worse. Rich men usually had more than one wife, or a wife and concubines etc. Poorer more or less fee men were usually doing well to get a wife. Enslaved people didn't formally marry as their children were never "legitimate."

And...it's heterosexual couples who "procreate" Gay people.

As a highly social species, sex is primarily about bonding, not procreation, though sex can be about both at the same time...and/or for other purposes. We're also clever, unusually adaptable and flexible, up to a point, and innovative. If sex was primarily about procreation, we would just die when our children are able to take care of themselves.

Sex bonds people together, even older people past their reproductive prime, which bonds society together, which creates the social environment we need to raise our children. Same-sex sexuality is every bit as important for the bonding of a couple, as other-sex sexuality is important for the bonding of a couple.

In any case, Christianity has never been a fertility cult. Jesus, I believe, made the point that it was loving God and doing God's will, not procreating, that blesses a person. As near as I can tell, God's will is largely to try to live by that Golden Rule thing. Gay people can love God and live by the Golden Rule.

Dave, I didn't misquote you, I paraphrased you.
As to Gregory Peterson's contention that homosexual practices condemned in scripture only refer to idolatrous practices, I am cutting and pasting a comment of mine (slightly edited)from another CT Politics blog article from 12/15/09:
I'd like to spend a little time on your comment concerning (the)contention that the Old Testament's prohibition against homosexuality was directed solely at pagan idolatrous practices and therefore all homosexual acts done outside that context are permitted. It is true that many if not all Old Testament references to homosexuality occur in passages denouncing idolatry (Lev. 18:21, 20:13). Yet these passages also include prohibitions against adultry, incest, bigamy and beastiality. Is it ok according to God's Word to engage in these acts as long as they are not associated with pagan religious practices? Lev. 18:21 prohibited Israel from allowing any children to "pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the NAME (caps. mine) of your God: I am the LORD." Pagans ritually worshipped the god Molech by burning their own children in fire, children were also turned into temple prostitutes as part of the worship of Molech. Other pagan religions surrounding Israel had similiar practices. The root word for "name" is shem, literally meaning branding. In Old Testament times people marked their bodies permanently to identify with the God they worshipped; the use of our bodies today also signifies whether we worship the God of the Bible or make an idol of ourselves and our bodies. That is one reason why idolatry, homosexuality and other sexual acts prohibited by God appear together in the same passages. Also, God in His Word links all sexual relations outside of marriage to idolatry. Some deny that Paul was refering to homosexuality in ICor 6:9,10, yet the Greek words he uses to denote such activity refer to passive partners in such acts (malakos) as well as active homosexuals (apsenokoitas). In 6:11, Paul uses to Greek imperfect indicative to state that for those he was addressing, those who formerly practiced such a lifestyle, they no longer lived that way. He uses the word apelousasthe to state that God had cleansed them of their sin, a complete and decisive action, they were given the desire and power to overcome their sin. This power is available to all who would repent of sin and allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse and empower them; no one need be condemned to a homosexual/lesbian lifestyle.

@ Chuck Anziulewicz:

I wrote earlier: "I truly believe that this type of scenario doesn't sit well with most straight people, especially when it involves a same-sex couple."

Then you wrote: "Shall I assume [this type of scenario between straight people] never bothered you before?"

Which part of my sentence quoted above didn't you understand?

Shall I safely assume, based on the tone and content of your response, that you just might be gay and, therefore, very likely incapable of understanding my original hypothetical situations from a heterosexual perspective? It's funny how your response reminds me of the following Bible verse: "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." John 1:5

Instead of attacking me personally, why don't you just comment on the question I raised at face value?

@ Chuck Anziulewicz:

At any rate, tell me what you think, Chuck: Will many heterosexual sympathizers of gay marriage change their tune if these facts are disclosed to them? Or will they agree with you?

@John G. -- OK, so you mis-paraphrased me (or maybe "misrepresented" me is more accurate.) As for the Levitical verses, the fact that they reference a number of activities associated with pagan rites obviously doesn't mean that all those activities are OK if conducted in contexts other than pagan rites. But it does legitimately raise the question of whether that context matters when discussing the sinfulness of those activities. And that can be addressed to some extent by looking elsewhere in scripture. Adultery is condemned in a number of places in scripture. Sexual activities conducted purely for self-gratification are condemned in general terms elsewhere. The sinfulness of all activities is subject to Christ's definition: sin is the failure to love God and love others with a selfless, self-sacrificing love. Of those few verses addressing homosexual activities, arguably none have anything to do with same-gender couples in loving, committed relationships. And in particular, verses in Paul's letters (including 1 Cor. 6) likely have to do with things like temple rites, prostitution, and pederasty. Even the US Conference on Catholic Bishops, hardly a strong promoter of gay rights, acknowledges that: http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/1corinthians/1corinthians6.htm

Tragic article frankly. A parallel perspective could be as a married heterosexaul, I refrain my instincts to be with other women due a moral and spiritual obligation. I 'choose' to inhibit my actions, and therefore not 'sin'. Similarly, an individual with homosexual tendencies should refrain from those instincts due to a moral and spiritual obligation. Our cultural wants to rebel. I doubt very seriously Jesus would welcome and accept these actions/perspectives. Some people insist on making the Bible say what they want to hear.

Dave, I can agree with the Catholic bishops in what they wrote but it should be noted that they do not deal with the Greek meanings of the words for homosexual activity used in 1Cor6, as I did. The first word mentioned in my comment,malakos,passive partners in homosexual activity, would include those engaged in passive activity in pagan temples. Yet this word is not limited to such activity. It also covers "...persons in general,who are guilty of addictions to sins of the flesh..." (Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words). The second word I used, apsenokoitas, refers specifically to any consensual homosexual act; this word would include those in loving committed relationships (The source for the Greek Words and Meanings of both words are from The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key To The Greek New Testament by Cleon Rogers Jr. and Cleon Rogers III). Failure to take this second word into account, as well as the full meaning of the first word, makes the Catholic commentary you cited incomplete. While you can define sin by inference as the opposite of obeying the two greatest commandments(Christ never specifically defined sin in such a way), you cannot define sin in ways that contradict the meaning of words contained in the original languages. No doubt there are loving commited persons in same sex relationships. The same could be said of heterosexual couples living together and those in adulterous relationships. Yet that does not mean that these relationships do not violate scriptural standards. Both are also condemned in 1Cor6. You are trying to define sin in such a way to argue that scripture does not prohibit activity it specifically condemns.

Dave, I must revise my remarks in my previous comment. Footnote 3 in the link to the Catholic commentary you provided may appear to deal with the original meanings of the terms, but neither word, malakos or apsenokoitas, is mentioned or fully defined. As the second word specifically refers to consensual homosexual activity, the explanation of the Catholic commentary that it refers to those engaged with young boys in temple prostitution is incorrect. Any commenary on words used in scripture that does not agree with the meaning of those words contained in the original languages is therefore incoorect. The Catholic commentary on this point falls into this category.

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish..."

"A long-running beliefs poll indicates a dramatic shift in views of homosexuality in recent years: What was once widely believed to be wrong is now considered morally acceptable by a majority of Americans."
What else do you expect from 60+ years of secular teaching from the media/public schools/liberal churches that there are no moral absolutes and that the Bible is at best a book with some good suggestions.
Jesus saw this in His day: Matt. 9:36 "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
What's the cure: Matt. 9:37 Then said He unto His disciples, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few." We need laborers - Bible teaching, Bible preaching - for the harvest, people committed to reaching the lost with the gospel.
Many do not think this tide of godless secularism can be stopped - remember Ninevah of Jonah's day. The people of Ninevah did not repent b/c Jonah's message was a "I'm okay, you're okay" message. Nor should churches stop preaching against the sin of homosexuality. And each practicing homosexual needs to be clear about this: their addiction to practicing same-sex fornication is an abomination to God and unless they repent of it and trust Jesus Christ as their Savior, they are choosing to spend eternity separated from God.

Eze. 18:30ff "...I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die...? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!"

@John G. -- I referenced the Bishops' commentary because they are backed by some very good scholarship in this area, and because they could not be accused of a pro-gay bias, but there are a great many other scholars who would agree that the words used in Paul's passages refer to same-sex activities in specific contexts, rather than consensual same-sex activities in general. In particular, the meaning of the word you focus most on -- arsenokoites -- is very obscure and much debated. It appears in ancient Greek literature so infrequently (especially in texts that predate Paul) that any translation is at best an inference based on textual and historical context. I would suggest you explore a wider range of sources when trying to come to an understanding of what is known (and what is not known) about the original meaning of these texts.
--
To get back to my original point, this is not a forum where translation and contextual issues having to do with scriptural texts on same-gender activities will be resolved. My main hope is that more people will realize that support for loving, committed, monogamous same-gender relationships does not imply a casual attitude toward sin, ignorance of the Bible, or lack of faithfulness to God or Scripture. There are legitimate arguments to be made that none of those few scriptures commonly used to condemn homosexuality have anything at all to do with these kinds of relationships.

@John G. -- I referenced the Bishops' commentary because they are backed by some very good scholarship in this area, and because they could not be accused of a pro-gay bias, but there are a great many other scholars who would agree that the words used in Paul's passages refer to same-sex activities in specific contexts, rather than consensual same-sex activities in general. In particular, the meaning of the word you focus most on -- arsenokoites -- is very obscure and much debated. It appears in ancient Greek literature so infrequently (especially in texts that predate Paul) that any translation is at best an inference based on textual and historical context. I would suggest you explore a wider range of sources when trying to come to an understanding of what is known (and what is not known) about the original meaning of these texts.
--
To get back to my original point, this is not a forum where translation and contextual issues having to do with scriptural texts on same-gender activities will be resolved. My main hope is that more people will realize that support for loving, committed, monogamous same-gender relationships does not imply a casual attitude toward sin, ignorance of the Bible, or lack of faithfulness to God or Scripture. There are legitimate arguments to be made that none of those few scriptures commonly used to condemn homosexuality have anything at all to do with these kinds of relationships.

DEAR ALLEY PROFESSOR:

If you have a problem with New York's "Age of Consent" regulations, fine. Work to change them. But marriage equality for Gay couples is an unrelated issue. The fact that you disapprove does not negate the fact that that there is no Constitutional justification to be made for denying law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples the same legal benefits and protections that Straight couples have always taken for granted.

@Chuck A. -- I actually asked Alley Professor if he/she believed most homosexuals are also pedophiles, and did not get a response. But I suspect that is a large part of what is behind this age-of-consent "revelation." I really can't think of any reason why people who already support gay marriage would object less strongly to 14-year-old girls marrying 50-year-old men than 14-year-old boys doing likewise, other than the misguided fear that this will open the floodgates by allowing older gay men to hook up with young boys. But people with that mindset are almost certainly already against gay marriage. And really, the fact that age-of-consent laws haven't changed for years isn't really news at all, almost by definition. So this strikes me as a non-issue that won't impact the debate at all.

I don't know if you are gay or not, and I don't know as it matters. But for what it is worth, I am straight and have been married 33 years to the same woman ... and I have no idea where Alley Prof. is coming from unless, as I said, it comes from equating homosexuality and pedophilia.

The time has come for Christians to stop their "wishful thinking" that American politics will somehow reflect the Bible.

America is not heaven, it is not the Promised Land, it is part of fallen humankind. And as such, we Christians should start treating it more as a mission field than some utopian theocracy (which, as we may recall, even when the Israelites practiced, was STILL not utopian).

That said, anyone who takes an authentic view of the Bible can see that homosexuality (along with greed, idolatry, pride, and a long list of any other sins) are wrong. Of course. And that all of us sinners need to throw ourselves on the mercy of Christ. Of course. But please realize that non-Christians have not yet come to accept the Bible as authoritative. So to argue with them from this vantage point of a book that they have not come to accept may not be the best tack (although I'm not saying it can't have an effect).

I would love it if more of us would try first to SHOW people, through acts of mercy and kindness, the love of Christ? Perhaps when they see that, that will be more open to look into this Bible which we know to be the very Word of God. After all, EACH of us has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Throwing stones at homosexuals will probably not lead them to the Savior.

You're all missing the point. Satan's ultimate aim is to promote same-sex behaviour in society, bringing it to the brink of destruction. It's his trump card, most powerful devil-spirit there is. First he softens them up, flooding the airwaves with lust, sensuality and eroticism - it's everywhere. Especially women, just as in the garden of Eden, as the serpent beguiled Eve. They slaughter their unborn children for fourty years, now they're going after each other's flesh. "As it was in the days of Lot, even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." Luke 17 29:30

Dave, you say there is great controversy over the word apsenokoitas, yet you cite no such scholarship to back this up. On the other hand, I cited two widely respected reference works to back up what I said. (See my previous comments.) These reference works are not commentaries; they are reference works on scripture's original languages. Any commentary by nature is an expression of opinion whose credibility must be tested by having its contentions backed up by neutral evidence, in this case, the original languages of scripture. The Catholic commentary you provided on the verse in question does not meet this criteria. It matters little how often the word is used in the New Testament. The fact is that it is the word specifically chosen by Paul in this verse. As I am typing, I have a Greek New Testament open to the passage and the word used here is specifically apsenokoitai. If there is such a controversy as to the meaning of the word (for which you cite no scholarship), then the Catholic commentary had no business definitely stating that it refered to homosexual acts related to idol worship. The other word, malakos (or specifically malakoi in the Greek New Testament), covers the issue of pagan temple practices and is a word distinct in meaning from apsenokoitai. If you cannot cite a reference work on New Testament Greek, as opposed to a commentary, I would suggest you refrain from asserting claims about how the text actually reads in the Greek. I do explore a wide range of material when seeking the meaning of a text; a seminary education has brought these sources to my attention. If this is not a forum for resolving what the Biblical text says about same sex relationships, then perhaps the attempt to twist the scriptures to make it appear the Bible does not condemn such relationships should not have been made here in the first place.

@John G. -- I think you are a bit quick to dismiss the notes on the USCCB website as mere commentary/opinion. The case in point is actually a footnote dealing specifically with the meaning of the original Greek words, provided by the same distinguished group of scholars responsible for the NAB translation. That said, I can point you to a survey document that provides a good cross-section of views on the texts we're talking about, with references if you wish to dig more deeply. If you go to the following ELCA website: http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/Social-Issues/Social-Statements/JTF-Human-Sexuality/Faithful-Journey-Resources.aspx and click on the Historical Documents link, you will find a 2003 Background Essay on Biblical Texts. Again, it is heavily referenced.

I would also note that viewing the original languages of scripture as the evidentiary benchmark in this discussion doesn't make a whole lot of sense when it is the meaning of the original languages that is at dispute. Also, I didn't just say that arsenokoites is used infrequently in the NT ... I actually said it is rarely used anywhere in ancient Greek literature ... which IS important since it impedes our ability to know what the word meant.

Dave, the link is indeed heavily referenced, with commentaries, almost no reference to Greek resources. In the section dealing with 1Cor6:9, I can only find 3 references (footnotes 92,93,110) to a New Testament Greek lexicon, the same reference work in each case. The Greek text itself uses two different words for homosexual acts related to pagan temples and those that are consensual. I am looking at the Greek text as I write. (See my previous comments on the two words) These two seperate terms are seperated by the word moixoi, meaning adulters.(Source for the meaning: the New Testament lexicon I referenced in my earlier comments.) If the text contains two words which are supposed to be linked, why are these words seperated by a word meaning something else? Any comment concerning the meaning of a passage must be tested by how the passage appears in the original language it is written in. The citing of commentaries, Catholic or Protestant, can not be allowed to stand as a final authority. The Catholic commentary you provided did not deal with the specific Greek terms in the footnote, as I pointed out in my earlier comment. It doesn't matter how distinguished a group of scholars they are, there will always be error in any commentary. And I am not putting down commentaries, I am just pointing out that their conclusions must be evaluated by how they stack up against the original languages. As I pointed out in my previous comment, if the terms are in such dispute, the Catholic commentary is not justified in asserting that the second word refered to acts in a temple setting. Determining the meaning of the original languages can run into controversy. But the almost total failure to cite a Greek reference work does not prove that the meanings of the words in 1Cor6:9 are in that much dispute. The frequency of apsenokoitai, or lack of it, in the New Testament or in Greek literature does not render the meaning of the word mysterious. And since the link you provided is from the Evangelical Lutherens which endorses same sex life styles, it can hardly be said to be an unbiased source, nor should it be taken for granted that they were honest with the sources they did cite.

@John G. -- you seem to be overly enamored with lexicons. They seem to be the only thing you recognize as legitimate “Greek resources,” with everything else being just commentary. The fact is that lexicons are developed from scholarly research based on studies of other ancient texts and historical information, and documented in the very kinds of papers you dismiss as “commentary.” You are drawing a distinction between lexicons and scholarly articles on Koine Greek that doesn’t exist. Lexicons are no more definitive than the articles when it comes to understanding the meaning of the words.

As for the USCCB source, first, even though they don’t spell out the transliterated words, they are clearly dealing with “the specific Greek terms in the footnote” and I don’t know how you can claim otherwise. Second, a correction to your comment on the USCCB material: while some sources conclude that the words reference temple prostitution, the USCCB actually concludes that they refer to pederasty. Their statement may be overly categorical, given the range of views that exist regarding this text, but that doesn’t impact the plausibility of their observations regarding the meaning of these words.

I tried to find out who pays for this survey. Apparently the survey is a project under the auspices of U.of Chicago who does statistical data for clients. Do the clients pay or does the U. of Chicago pay. Any way I want to know who they surveyed and for what client this survey was done. If you ask people in NYS the only ones saying yes are the homosexuals who paid for legislatures votes. Everybody else figured it would be a no and are absolutedly stunned the vote was a yes. Now certain non liberal stations are reporting lots of money going to yes legislatures who were elected on their no vote because campaign monies reports are now being released. Politians are worthless liers and apparently are in the job for the benefits not their constituents.

@ John G. (cont.) -- Your dismissal of the notion that rarely-used words in an ancient language are harder to decipher is a bit odd.

Two issues regarding your comment on Lutherans. First, your statement that the ELCA endorses same-sex “lifestyles” is not accurate. The ELCA concluded that there is a range of reasonable, Biblically-based positions on the issue, based in part on the kinds of translation issues being discussed here, ranging from condemnation of such relationships as sinful to the embracing of such relationships as long as they are committed and monogamous. In the spirit of respectfully agreeing to disagree, it was decided to allow decisions on this issue to be handled at the local level. There is no churchwide position on the subject. Second, your dismissal of any resource that takes a position that disagrees with yours as biased kind of makes any further discussion pointless.

Finally, when transliterating Greek words, it is more often the custom to use “r” for the letter rho … not “p.”

Dave, apparently you haven't been following the ELCA lately. This year they voted to ordain non-celibate clergy which has caused a split within its ranks. If this is not an endorsement of a same sex lifestyle, I don't know what is. I don't dismiss "any" resource that does not agree with mine as biased. I never dismissed the Catholic commentary as biased; I took issue with its handling of one verse. I took you to task for not citing a reference work concerning New Testament Greek. In citing the ELCA document, you again failed to do so. Yes, there are differences among scholars of Biblical languages, but you would be hard pressed to find a work on languages that was produced to advance an agenda from start to finish like the ELCA document. No, commentaries are not sources equal to lexicons. Yes, commentaries document information found in lexicons, but that does not mean that lexicons do not stand alone as sources of authority. Neither do commentaries have a higher authority than the Greek text, which I have cited in my comments. The USCCB link claims both words refer to temple practices, but it cannot legitimately claim to do so without citing the original Greek language, which it failed to do. In fact, I find it disingenuous to state that because there is not scholarly consenses on what words mean, one cannot claim that the Bible condemns all forms of same sex relationships while those who disagree can claim the Bible does not offer such condemnation for those in long term, committed relationships. As for the issue of transliteration, I stand corrected. If you wish to reply, I may not see a computer until Sunday evening.

@Dave: Do you believe in moral absolutes?

@John G. -- I don't know as there is much point in continuing the discussion. You don't seem to have a good grasp of where lexicons come from; in particular you have a simplistic (and somewhat backwards) view of how lexicons, linguistic research, and the scholarly papers that document that research all tie together. As a result, you reject some of the most relevant sources on this topic. And it still appears to me that you tend to reject as biased anything that doesn't support your view. As for the ELCA, your facts are a bit off. First, ELCA policy decisions are made at triennial assemblies, the last one having been held in 2008. So they didn't vote on anything this year, or last year for last matter. They did vote to allow decisions regarding ordination of pastors in same-gender relationships to be made at the local level in 2008, but other than acknowledging that there are Biblically supportable views on both sides of the issue, did not take a stand either way. Ordination of gay ELCA pastors in NJ is no more an endorsement of homosexuality by ELCA churchwide than prohibition of gay ELCA pastors in SD is a condemnation of homosexuality.

@Dan -- yes, I believe in moral absolutes. But I also believe that as finite, flawed human beings, we don't always have a good handle on what those absolutes are. I think the Scriptures prevent us from wandering too far from what God intends, but nobody should claim to have a perfect understanding of what God's will, as contained in Scripture, is.

@Dave: What are those moral absolutes?

Dave - so you believe there are moral absolutes but we don't have a good grasp on them? Seriously, you did not just make that assertion! Speak for yourself. Christians who know their Bibles know what God's moral absolutes are. But since you don't have a good grasp on what moral absolutes are, you really can't say opposition to same-sex fornication is wrong. All you have is your culturally informed opinion. And all you can say logically is: "Well, in my opinion, opposition to the addiction of same-sex fornication is wrong. But that's just me. Your truth may be different." You just need to read your Bible -which clearly you don't know very well.

"...become more informed by the Golden Rule." Matt. 7:12 "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." So, you do realize the Law and the Prophets condemned same-sex fornication. Don't you?

"My Bible doesn't seem to be the same Bible as the Bible of conservative Evangelicals..." Thanks for clarifying this for us. At least we now know your bible is your own inflated opinions of your own mind - not the inerrant and infallible word of God. [You realize, of course, I will remind you later on of your admission here at the least opportune moment ;-D] But this doesn't surprise me as you identify yourself as a post modern kind of guy - ie you don't let a little thing like God's commands get in your way moral cipherings. But the thing is, as a post modern guy, you can never be sure what is true or not true as truth is relative. (Whoa, that sucks! That means I can't know objectively what is right or wrong!)And since you don't know objective truth, you can never say those who oppose same-sex fornication are wrong.
("the postmodern position is that, in placing all principles under the scrutiny of its skepticism, it must realize that even its own principles are not beyond questioning."
But you really aren't post mod - esp. when it comes to reading the directions on the medicine bottle.

@Dave and John G -- I agree with Dave. As a straight supporter of marriage equality, the details of your discussion are fascinating (really!), but I think the more important point is the use of the word(s) commonly translated as "abomination" to describe BOTH some sort of same sex activity AND completely unobjectionable activities such as eating shellfish.

This section is certainly not meant as a comprehensive guide to sexual holiness. The point, from the prohibition on shellfish to the prohibition on certain sexual practices, is that these things are condemned NOT because they are necessarily inherently wrong, but because they are the practices of the Egytians and the surrounding gentile nations. God wanted his people to show outward signs of distinction. If Leviticus 18 and 20 were meant to be part of some "holiness code," they certainly are flawed.

First, those chapters do NOT prohibit all "adultery, bigamy, and incest." They only prohibit certain types of adultery -- with close relatives or with women who are already married to others. Likewise, those chapters also don't prohibit all incest. They talk about adult children engaging in relations with other adult relatives. It doesn't bar a father or mother from abusing their own child. (I'm not saying that makes it OK, only that that prohibition is not found in Lev. 18 or 20, making it seriously flawed as a so-called "holiness code.") Finally, those chapters don't say anything at all about bigamy. It condemns taking as a wife a woman who is already married to someone else, or who is otherwise a close relative, but not taking two unmarried, unrelated women to both be wives at the same time.

Second, many of the sexual practices forbidden in this section are completely legal and/or unobjectionable today. For example, "You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter." As long as the daughter is of age, our laws do not ban a man from marrying first the mother and then the daughter. Or, even having sexual relationships with both of them, even at the same time. I might think that's immoral, but it's certainly not illegal. See, e.g., Woody Allen and Mia Farrow and Mia Farrow's daughter. Similarly, we don't even consider that a man who has sex with a woman during her menstrual period to be doing anything immoral at all, let alone something that is or should be illegal.

Third, no one today within Christianity advocates the death penalty for the violation of thes principles, as called for by this so-called "holiness code."

Jesus, noting that the some of the Pharisees had become so caught up in the outward signs of religiosity that they failed to honor God with their hearts, taught us how to view these types of ritual commandments of the OT. Based on this teaching, we no longer keep kosher or do ritual handwashing. Jesus was teaching a greater lesson that what comes out of the mouth, from the heart, is what defiles. See Matt. 15:1-20.

And isn't it interesting that the writer of Proverbs, who WAS talking about holiness, made the same point: "There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that hurry to run to evil, 19 a lying witness who testifies falsely, and one who sows discord in a family."

We don't need a "holiness code" to know that adultery is wrong: it breaks a promise to your spouse, which is lying, and it involves coveting something that doesn't belong to you. And, in a culture where virtually everyone was married, prohibiting adultery, as the Ten Commandments do, covers most sexual sin, if you consider adultery to cover all sex outside marriage.

Incest is always wrong because the child cannot consent. Engaging in sex without the other's consent is essentially stealing that person's body for a period, or lying to obtain their consent. (Even adult children are treated by law as being unable to consent to adult incest because some relationships are so power-imbalanced as to not permit rational consent.) Bestiality is wrong because the beast cannot consent.

Thus, in the same way that Jesus freed us to eat shrimp and cheesburgers, and freed women to engage in sex during their periods, he freed us from the prohibition on whatever it was that Leviticus 18:22 was talking about, unless it's covered by some other substantive moral precept or reflects an evil heart. Thus, one is not to eat shrimp or cheeseburgers to gluttony, or to steal a cheeseburger. And, one is not to engage in same sex relationships if one is already married, or if the other person is already married. But, neither shrimp nor same sex relations are inherently wrong.

Tell us CL, do you believe in moral absolutes?

Dave, if you don't choose to respond, thats fine with me. But to correct your mischaracterization of my comments, I do not reject commentaries or any accepted scholarly contributions to the field of Biblical languages. I simply evaluated the level of authority various venues of research hold on the question of determining what Paul wrote concerning same sex relationships. I not only backed up my position citing a New Testament Greek lexicon, but I also cited Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words as well as the Greek text itself. As for the ECLA, here is a link to a story examining the ECLA's acceptance of non-celebite gay clergy as well as the split from the ECLA by conservative Lutherans opposed to the action: http://www.winonadailynews.com/news/local/article_436be102-b22f-11df-b05a-001cc4c03286.html . I was wrong about the year; the action by the ECLA took place last year.

If CL would take the time to study Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, portions of the Gospels and portions of Acts (and the last 3500 years of Jewish history/theological interpretation and 2000 years of Christian history/theology) she perhaps would come to different conclusions. But as usual she is mostly speculating with no Biblical, historical, or theological evidence to justify her progressive liberal hokum.

The comments at this webpage reinforce my earlier comment of “The change on viewing same-sex relations occurring in the 1990's is due in large part to the gay agenda books, which laid out specific plans to sway the media to promote same-sex relations.”

Whenever homosexuality is discussed at Christianity Today, the homosexual activists continually show up here and try to persuade Christians to deviate from Scripture. Their arguments are much talk but skewed reasoning. They choose to disregard Scripture. God made it very clear in His Word that homosexuality is not according to His plan. It’s clear that the fella who posted about eunuchs doesn’t really know the Bible and probably used a concordance or the Internet. Otherwise, he would have written about how eunuchs helped Esther, Daniel and Jeremiah. The Bible referred to eunuchs whose lot in life was to be either a eunuch emasculated by the Arabs (still going on in Sudan more than 2,000 years later), or a person who either chooses not to marry or does not find someone wonderful to marry.

Thank you to those of you born-again Christians who follow Scripture who continually call these homosexual activists on their misinterpretation here at this site. I fear for those Christians whose walk with the Lord is not as strong who will be persuaded by these activists, particularly those homosexual activitists who call themselves Christians.

@DB: Always good to have another Christian here to share God's word.

"Christians who know their Bibles know what God's moral absolutes are."

-- This is precisely the same view that the Taliban and al Queda and cultists of all stripes have about what God's moral absolutes are. And it's just as arrogant. In contrast, the Bible teaches that, now, we see through a glass darkly. Omniscience is not one of the gifts of the Spirit. That attribute belongs only to God. And those who purport to arrogate that power to themselves are suffering under the most dangerous sort of illusion.

There are many moral absolutes that we all agree on, but we don't always agree on the application of the moral absolutes to particular situations. That's how the rabbinic tradition, and our English common law system, developed. Rabbis and judges applied broad moral absolutes to specific situations. For example, we all agree that murder is wrong. But we don't always agree about what constitutes murder. That's why we have juries. All Christians should agree that we must love our neighbor as ourselves, but it's clear that we don't all agree on who our "neighbor" is.

"If CL would take the time to study Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, portions of the Gospels and portions of Acts (and the last 3500 years of Jewish history/theological interpretation and 2000 years of Christian history/theology) she perhaps would come to different conclusions.

-- This is exactly what the flat-earthers, the pro-slave denominations, and the Jim Crow segregationists argued. Which pretty much proves Dave's point about the existence of moral absolutes but our sometimes imperfect human understading of them.

In fact, I have studied the Bible, and Jewish history and theology in multiple college and other courses. I stand by my interpretation and I'm pretty sure I'm right, particularly because I know many gay Christians who live out the fruits of the Spirit. But, in the end, God will be the Judge. One of us will be right and the other wrong. That's not a belief in relative truth. It's merely an acknowledgement that I myself am not God. And neither are you.

But one thing IS clear from reading the whole of the Bible, the amount of time that evangelicals spend opposing gay rights and marriage equality is wildly out of proportion to the amount of Biblical text dealing with this subject. Reading the evangelical press, one would come away with the notion that vast swaths of the Bible were devoted to denouncing gays and abortion.

CL, although different religions may make the same claims, there is only ONE truth. The quran does not in any way compare to the Bible, which was written by 40 authors and over a period of 1500 to 2000 years or more. The quran is the "revelation" of one man, just like mormans have their "revelation" of one man, Joseph Smith. As you've seen me say before, only the Bible has history, archeology, and hundreds of fulfilled prophecies. You can choose to accept the truth of the Bible or not. It seems as if you are constantly looking for "loopholes" in what God has told us. That make work in a courtroom, but it wouldn't please, and it won't work with God, who is Holy and IS the ultimate truth. You may find out soon that God is indeed the ultimate true and fair judge of mankind. We never know which day is our last, either by death, or for Christians, being taken up by our Lord.

It really gets tiring hearing about slavery, etc, because God never said it was a good thing. There are lots of things that happened in the Bible, that talk about man's sin, and just because it is talked about in the Bible doesn't mean that God is saying it is a good thing.

Jesus quoted from the Old Testament many times, and fulfilled hundreds of prophecies written in the OT. The odds of one person being able to fulfill all the prophecies written about Jesus are the same as having a 3 foot high stack of quarters covering the state of Texas and one quarter was marked red, and you go there blindfolded and pick up one quarter, and it being the red one. The odds put it into the "impossible if not for God" category. So, if you or anyone else wants to continue to commit a sin that God considers an abomination, it's truly at your peril. In Revelation, it is clear about God's wrath, and it will be much worse than Sodom and Gomorrah, because it will be eternal punishment.

"Christians who know their Bibles know what God's moral absolutes are."

"In fact, I have studied the Bible, and Jewish history and theology in multiple college..." Really?

You should ask for a refund.

@John G. -- regarding the ELCA, the statement in the article you cite saying the ELCA decided to "move gay pastors into its fold" is inaccurate. As I said, the action by the ELCA was to allow any decisions regarding the calling partnered gay pastors to be made at the local level. (The actual actions voted on can be found at the ELCA link I provided earlier.) Again, there was nothing in the action representing either an endorsement or condemnation of same-gender relationships. The decision of a small number of conservative congregations to leave as a result of the action is not because they were required to change their teachings, beliefs, or pastoral-call policies. It was because they couldn't accept being affiliated with a national church body that also included any congregations that interpreted scripture differently on this issue.

And FYI -- the ELCA action did not take place last year, but rather in August of 2009. (I was also wrong about the year as I thought they last met in 2008.)

As fallen individuals whose best always falls short of the holy expectations of a perfect God, we were all born predisposed to various types of sin.

That being said, however, the liberal pick-and-choose Gospel "Christians" (the quotations are important), would have you believe that anything goes since you're born that way, and especially so if your predispositions are to certain types of sin endorsed by the popular culture. That is not, and never has been, Biblical.

You can fool yourself, but not God. It is he who has the final word.... and it's already in the pages of his book. And, in His infinite grace he offers forgiveness to us all if we choose Him over our predispositions. (And, unfortunately, for most, given our sinful nature, that's just too much to ask. And, that in and of itself explains much of the violent and criminal history of mankind.)

Dave, here are links to the ECLA actions from other new sources:
CNN- http://articles.cnn.com/2009-08-21/us/lutheran.gays_1_evangelical-lutherans-same-sex-denominations?_s=PM:US . A quote from the story: "After hours of back and forth between members, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America decided Friday evening to accept noncelibate clergy members and lay leaders who are in "lifelong" and "monogamous" same-sex relationships." Not only did the ECLA welcome gay clergy into its fold, it also seeks to advance the acceptance of same sex relationships among the layity.
Here is another story from the Washington Post on the ELCA action: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/17/AR2009081703016.html
A link from USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-08-28-Lutheran27_ST_N.htm
From the L.A. Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/aug/22/nation/na-lutherans-gay22 and the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/22/us/22lutherans.html
From MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32522934/ns/us_news-faith/t/lutherans-gay-clergy-vote-hints-major-shift/ Here is a quote from this link, "The ELCA — the nation's seventh-largest Christian church — reached its conclusion after eight years of study and deliberation. That culminated Friday when the church's national assembly in Minneapolis struck down a policy that required any gay and lesbian clergy to remain celibate."
Are all these news sories inaccurate? The fact that congregations opposed to same sex relationships are not force to accept them does not alter the fact that the ECLA accepts such relationships anywhere within its ranks. To assert otherwise is intellectual dishonesty. This is why the ECLA document cannot be trusted as to its citation of sources, as the authors of it had the intention of bring about this very result. And if gay clergy are accepted, same sex relationships will eventually be accepted among the layity.

Moral absolutes = the 10 Commandments

"This is precisely the same view that the Taliban and al Queda and cultists of all stripes have about what God's moral absolutes are. And it's just as arrogant." So God is arrogant?

"...the Ten Commandments...covers most sexual sin, if you consider adultery to cover all sex outside marriage." That's what Lev. 18:22 refers to and this is why same-sex fornication is condemned by God.

"...study Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, portions of the Gospels and portions of Acts (and the last 3500 years of Jewish history/theological interpretation and 2000 years of Christian history/theology...This is exactly what the flat-earthers, the pro-slave denominations, and the Jim Crow segregationists argued." Let me get this straight: you shouldn't study the history of a religion, its text, and its various interpretations in order to get at the author's meaning? Something just doesn't sound right about this...hmmmm. Are you sure you went to law school? B/c many lawyers - at least on tv - know the history of the law in order to apply it to today's context.

"...in the same way that Jesus freed us...from the prohibition on whatever it was that Leviticus 18:22" What? You're not sure what Lev. 18:22 is? So how can you say Jesus freed us from it?
Well, somebody really should have informed poor Jesus and poor Paul and poor James and poor Peter and poor...oh, you get it:
Jesus: Matt. 15:19 "...out of the heart come... adulteries, fornications... 20 These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” Let's see: adulteries, fornications. Yep, that sure looks like Lev. 18:22 all right. "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."
Paul: I Cor. 6:13ff "...the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” 17 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body."
James: Acts 15:13, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me. 19 Therefore it is my judgment that...they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood."

I Peter 2:11 "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul."

Question, CL: Is sexual intercourse outside of marriage okay if it is consensual? Even tho you are a lawyer, please try to hold it down to "yes" or "no".


Of course a majority will be favorable... the whole nation has been indoctrinated for decades by extremely biased scientific studies, the entertainment industry and an overtly liberal media. Combine all this with the removal of Christianity from many sectors of public life and the shameful and often hypocritical actions of so-called believers (especially those in the spotlight) and you arrive at a majority-rules ethic that decides what is right and wrong when it comes to human sexuality. I pray the church will rise up with humility and love and truth and that we will see a return to righteousness in the nation.

"But, neither shrimp nor same sex relations are inherently wrong."

Your inability to see the moral distinction between eating shrimp and engaging in same-sex fornication is - remarkable!

But there is a huge difference. The Biblical fact is that consensual adultery/fornication is always wrong -same sex or otherwise. Here's my evidence:
-1 Thessalonians 4:3 "For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality..."
-Exodus 20:14 "You shall not commit adultery.
-Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill."
-Matthew 5:27 "You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’..."
-Col. 3: 5 "Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire.."
-1 Thessalonians 4:3 "For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality..."

[I think I made my point.]

So, perhaps from your vast store of Biblical knowledge you can provide us with evidence from the Bible where Jesus or Paul permitted consensual
fornication - same sex or otherwise.



"But, neither shrimp nor same sex relations are inherently wrong."

You said it's not okay to have sex with an animal b/c it can't consent. [It's wrong b/c God says its wrong - not b/c the animal cannot consent.] But following your logic, does the animal have to give its consent to be killed and eaten? Just wondering. 'Cus I'm thinking not many animals would give consent to let us kill them and them eat them. I think your logic defies logic. ;-D

Yours is a type of "religious secularism" that taken to it logical end is nothing more than an absurdity wrapped in intellectual snobbery.

@John G. -- I would again suggest you simply refer back to the ELCA website to see what was actually approved at the 2009 Assembly. But it would probably be pointless as the difference between letting congregations decide these issues for themselves, based on their well-considered understanding of scripture, and ELCA churchwide endorsing any particular decision they might make, is a subtlety that seems to elude you. And as for your claim that you know the original intentions of the people behind the 2003 ELCA document I cited ... that is ridiculously presumptuous, though not at all surprising at this point.

Why bother? The links I cited contain plenty of quotes from those involved in the action of the ECLA. How could all these news organizations get their facts wrong. The fact that local congregations are allowed to decide whether to accept gay clergy for themselves or not means nothing. To remain actively involved with the ELCA, they would have to fellowship with those congreagations that do and financially support a denomination that supports what scripture prohibits. For you to argue that the ECLA has not accepted active gay clergy (celibate gay had already been accepted) is as I said in my previous comment, intellectually dishonest. I am not going to waste my time arguing with you on this subject.

@John Guthrie: Arguing with gay advocates is an exercise in Orwellian-think. They are the stuff of dystopian novels.

I agree Dan. But sometimes such arguements can be useful. They can be opportunities for third parties to see how convoluted their arguements are plus see their lack of ethics in how they argue. In that sense, you and I are performing a public service.

@John G. -- Why bother to read the actual documents to find out what they actually say when you can rely on media accounts of what people with extremely strong views (pro and con) say about them? If you have to ask ...

what poll what they say is totally wrong. because the bible says in the book of genesis man will leave his parents as well as woman then they will be one because God made man & woman 2 get merried not man 2 man or woman 2 woman that is so demonic because GOD is real hate it. what I CAN SAY WE AS CHRISTIAN LETS COME TOGETHER AS A UNITED FAMILY OF GOD PRAY 4 THAT THING AGAINST GOD'S LOVELLY PEOPLE IN JESUS'NAME.11

"...I know many gay Christians who live out the fruits of the Spirit." Same-sex fornication is antithetical to the fruit of the Spirit. You and your gay friends are sadly mistaken.

Gal. 5:16 "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."


"But, in the end, God will be the Judge. One of us will be right and the other wrong."
You don't have to wait until the end to know the truth - if you knew God's word and believed it, you would know right now.

Romans 3:4 "May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar..."

You can't really trust polls. I could produce at least 3 more that say that a majority of Americans have unfavorable opinions on same-sex relations.

Forget about what the poll says. I think what matters most is we have to give the same respect for the gay-lesbian community and give them the same privileged as we get. Come one they have their own rights too.

Let it not be said that Jesus did not make it clear who is to marry.When Jesus was questioned about divorce by the pharisees he said:
"Don't you know that in the beginning the Creator made a man and a woman? That's why a man leaves his father and mother and gets married. He becomes like one person with his wife. "

Mathew 19: 4-5 (CEV)

Here's what bothers me: people who only feel good socializing with their own gender. Where is the inclusiveness instituted by the sacrament of marriage? Gay Parade: people in a state of undress not consistent with public norms -- in their underwear, or women with breasts exposed. Is sexuality really necessarily something that needs to be fully public? Is there no value to privacy in intimacy? You know, what is nobody else's business (and especially not made the business of children n the public arena)?

Identity based on sexuality or sexual preference... really? Is that all there is to a human being -- a culture of its own, perhaps characterized by bars with a lot of cruising? Is this a true social good?

Can we think reasonably about these things without discussing the abstract "equality" argument in some sort of ideological lockstep?